Management of Ecosystem Services in Amazonian Smallholder Land Use Systems


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This study was presented during the conference “Production and Carbon Dynamics in Sustainable Agricultural and Forest Systems in Africa” held in September, 2010.

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Management of Ecosystem Services in Amazonian Smallholder Land Use Systems

  1. 1. ABSTRACT Given increasing climate change concerns, the Amazon region as one of the last and largest forest areas left on the planet and the ecosystem services (ES) its forests provides has become issues of international interests. Diverse small- scale land use systems, which include mosaics of forestry, agroforestry systems, annual and perennial crop production, have an important role in future Amazon ecosystem management (at local and global scale) and also in developing smallholder options to adapt to future climate changes. This ongoing post doc research argues that in order to achieve long term sustainable development in the Amazon basin, an integrated understanding of small-scale farmers’ (and other resource users) own perceptions of their environment and resource use is required. The research results presented describe how the ecosystem services that provide the conditions for intensive swidden agricultural systems, practiced by small-scale farmers in San Martín (North-eastern Peru), are observed, named and in some cases handled by these farmers. An Action Research (AR) methodological framework developed in previous research has been used, including in-depth studies of identified problematic issues, individual/group interviews, workshops, field walks, field experimentations, participatory observation and landscape characterization in relation to land management decisions. By arranging learning activities together with farmer groups, a local NGO and researchers it has been possible to work practically and analytically with ES management and to combine different types of knowledge for learning. DISCUSSION AFTER THE PRESENTATION Discussion regarded clarification of the ecosystem services the forest provides. These are primarily related to soil fertility and to increasing biomass production. In addition there was discussion of how to communicate technical information to smallholders. The project is working with key farmer partners, and with local NGOs, to design simple visual materials and to interact with smallholders. Management of Ecosystem Services in Amazonian Smallholder Land Use Systems Kristina Marquardt, Researcher, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) - Latin America
  2. 2. Kristina Marquardt ”Management of Ecosystem Services in Amazonian Smallholder Land Use Systems” Kristina Marquardt, post doc researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU & World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) - Latin America
  3. 3. Peruvian Upper Amazon
  4. 4. Rapid changes in the local agricultural system
  5. 5. The diversity of agricultural land uses in San Martín
  6. 6. Research questions • This post doc research will look at how local farmer groups regard soil fertility as an ES, how ES are understood, observed and named and in some cases handled • How could ES-generation be reworded in a farmer relevant way? • How can participatory learning processes contribute to make local and global scales of ES visible and understandable in the local setting?
  7. 7. The project used action research methodology as it is: systemic, participatory, striving for research and action outcomes, based on experience, creative through dialogue The core of action research is a rigorous learning spiral with steps of: planning, action, observation and reflection. This give advantages when working with farmers’ practical and experimental learning Methodology - action research plan act reflect plan act reflect plan act reflect Agro-diversity Institutions Farmers’ Learning Phase II. Farming system resilience (autumn 2003) Phase III. Institutionalisation of learning process (spring 2004) Phase III. Agro-ecosystem characteristics (spring 2003)
  8. 8. A good field – new field • Production • Timing • Burning practice • Soil quality • Farmer knowledge A bad field – a tired field • Soil quality • Consequences of burning practices • Production quantity • Kind of production • Harder weed preassure
  9. 9. A good fallow– old or intermediate fallow • Biomass • Tree species • Soil quality A bad fallows – low forest, bush land, weed infested land • Biomass • Soil quality • Aggressive weeds
  10. 10. 2 year old fallow by Virgilio in Zamora 8 year old fallow by Pedro in Congompera The fallow of Andres from Alto Pucalpillo and the vegetation in front as the land was before The fallow of Virgilio Congompera
  11. 11. Bellaco caspi (Himatanthus sucuuba) Cetico (Cecropia spp.) Pucaquiero – Simiria williamsii) Guaba (Inga edulis) Aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa)
  12. 12. “In the same way as you have to sow maize (in order to make it produce), one has to sow huabas, rujindis, fapinas (N-fixing tree species) in order to have a fallow”